Victims of the Acteal Massacre exhausted
"Throughout these 6.512 days we have been worn down with exhaustion," say the victims of the Acteal Massacre to the IACHR.
"This massacre was planned by the Mexican State itself. We will not accept an amicable solution; we ask for the case to continue in process until the truth is found." Acteal.
"We recognize that the state was unable to prevent these events or to respond appropriately after them." Campa Cifrián.
Chiapas, Mexico. October 20th. "We were given a blow, but today we are here to seek justice," explained Juan Vásquez Luna, a member of the Civil Society Las Abejas of Acteal, at a hearing before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) in Washington DC, to demand justice for the massacre perpetrated against 18 adult women, 4 of them pregnant; 16 adolescents; 4 children and 7 men, on December 22, 1997, 6,512 days ago, in the community of Acteal, municipality of Chenalhó, Chiapas.
Vásquez Luna, a member of the board of Las Abejas, who lost nine of his relatives in the massacre, submitted to the Commission a study on the Massacre of Acteal, entitled: Psychosocial Study of the background, factors associated with the act and management of the emergency, psychosocial consequences and collective impact on the community of Acteal. "This psychosocial study will include a Forensic Expert Report," he added.
"This massacre was planned by the Mexican State itself", assured the indigenous of the Chiapas highlands through the voice of Vásquez Luna, for which reason they called on the Commission "to issue an in-depth report on the case of the Acteal Massacre, declaring the State responsible for the violations." Las Abejas of Acteal were accompanied by the Fray Bartolomé de las Casas Human Rights Centre (Frayba), as they have been since December 1997.
"The Mexican government continues to promote impunity through their corrupt system" stated the Las Abejas Civil Society, noting that "Far from punishing those responsible for the massacre, they have rewarded them with lands, houses and even monthly pensions". "Those directly responsible for the Acteal Massacre have been released," they said.
The representative of the indigenous Tzotziles and of Frayba, warned that "there is no will for guarantees of non-repetition" and that "the return of soldiers to Acteal is a time bomb." "There are military incursions into territories in resistance where people are building processes of autonomy," added the Abejas of Acteal, and stated that "in the territory there are 72 military camps who are in a state of war."
Meanwhile, Commissioner Ortiz questioned the representatives of the Mexican government "on what the Attorney General of the Republic (PGR) based the conclusion that the Acteal Massacre was not perpetrated by paramilitaries?" "If the state said that they did not preserve the scene of the Acteal Massacre, then what reliable conclusions could be drawn?" asked the human rights defender.
In his address to the hearing at the Commission, the envoy of the government of Mexico, Roberto Campa Cifrián, acknowledged that before the massacre in the community of Acteal, the State "was unable to prevent these events and respond appropriately after them." And yet in spite of all this, "the Mexican State denies the internal armed conflict and low-intensity war that prevails in Chiapas," said Frayba.
"Impunity is part of the counterinsurgency strategy, because it exhausts and divides the survivors, which has brought us great pain. The integral policy of attrition from the Mexican State is their weapon to kill our memory, thus leaving the crime unpunished," the indigenous in resistance also expressed in a communiqué on October 2nd.
Following the hearing at the IACHR in Washington, the civil organization Las Abejas of Acteal held a press conference in San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas. "The Impact of the Acteal Massacre is manifested in chronic stress, lack of justice and community exhaustion," shared the Indians in Frayba’s facilities.
"It was mostly women who died at Acteal," stressed Maria Vasquez, a survivor of the massacre. "The Mexican government wanted to exterminate us, but here we continue to denounce this state crime", emphasized the Tzotzil indigenous woman.
"Two years and nine months after the submission of comments on the case of the Acteal Massacre (30th January 2013), the petitioners have not received the alleged remarks of the Mexican state," explained Frayba. "As discussed earlier in this audience we have asked the Commissioners of the IACHR to urge the Mexican state to submit its observations and for the Commission to issue the in-depth report in to this case," said the human rights body.
"The counterinsurgency stage, during the government of Ernesto Zedillo, was to undermine support from the civilian population for the guerrilla, in the highlands and northern areas, by means of police and paramilitary actions, under the command of the Mexican army and its Rainbow Task Force commanded by General Mario Renán Castillo," recalled Frayba. "This strategy was unveiled by the document ‘Chiapas 94 Campaign Plan’," they explained.
Hearing before the Commission on the Acteal Massacre: http://www.frayba.org.mx/archivo/boletines/151020_cidh.pdf
We do not accept a friendly settlement with the Mexican state: Abejas of Acteal: http://acteal.blogspot.mx/2015/10/no-aceptamos-llegar-una-solucion.html?spref=fb
Photo: Susana Montes